Heroism in the grief

For over a half century, our country has been rocked by senseless violence.

In 1969, Elvis Presley sang a song called “In the Ghetto.” It told the story of a youngster born in poverty in Chicago. (Yes, that same Chicago where there were 114 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend this year.)

Elvis’ musical protagonist “Buys a gun, steals a car — he tries to run, but he don’t get far.” He dies facedown with the gun in his hand.

So, the problem isn’t new. A year ago this week, the nation was dealing with a twin set of tragedies involving police:

Two young black men shot and killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota; five police officers ambushed and killed while protecting protesters at a rally in Dallas.

In those sad and tense days, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Police Chief David Brown displayed leadership qualities that calmed their city and soothed a nation.

Mayor Rawlings said there are still deep strains of racism in our country and that it is past time to make Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of every man being judged on his merits a reality.

Chief Brown urged protesters to turn in applications to join him and fellow officers on the force.

“We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in, and we’ll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

In an appearance on “CBS This Morning,” Rawlings called Chief Brown — who compared police officers to superheroes at a vigil for the five who were slain — one of the “heroes we need” when he called for black protesters to become “part of the solution, serve your communities” by joining the police force.

Leaders like Brown and Rawlings are what we need on the national level to heal the wounds that divide us. Black lives matter — so did the lives of the five ambushed officers that died making sure people had the right of free expression.

We need to be taught, once and for all, that all lives matter in America.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.